Have you ever longed for a farmer’s market in the dead of winter? How about a farmer’s market where you can purchase everything you need to cook a delicious meal in one stop? That’s exactly how Cheryl Olsten and Steven Grabowski, owners of Stockton Market in Stockton, felt; But instead of hoping, they made it into a reality.
“We fell in love with the building and decided to expand on the existing farmer’s market inside,” says Olsten; she and her husband are the reason Stockton Market is now a destination along the Delaware River. After fixing up the inside – building permanent counter tops and a market café – they began to spread the word; attracting local vendors to build a market that’s way more fun (and more delicious) than your average grocery store.
What is Stockton Market?
Since opening, Stockton Market has grown from just a small community farmer’s market to a true foodie destination. Just a few minutes away from the river towns of Lambertville, NJ and New Hope, PA, it’s a worthwhile detour. Just make sure to have a reusable bag ready to stuff with goodies.
“Every vendor puts their heart and soul into their products and they want to tell you about it. Fortunately, most people who come to the market want to understand more about the food they’re buying and eating, so they love it,” said Olsten. “The high quality of food is apparent and it’s something that we’re passionate about keeping. For example we have locally grown rice from Blue Moon Acres – that’s amazing.”
Now in its 4th year, you could say Stockton Market is in full bloom. Vendors cover every aspect of your ideal dinner plate; from freshly grown, seasonal produce courtesy of Blue Moon Acres, to Stonybrook Meadows’ eggs with yolks the color of the sun and Apple Ridge Farm’s artisanal sourdough, there’s really nothing you can’t find here.
Fresh As Can Be
If you have time, stop to taste organic Tunisian olive oils with Abdel Bensalem from Mediterranean Delicacies. The oils are so fresh you can still taste the earthiness of the olive; especially when you combine it with a little bit of Za’atar seasoning. And don’t pass up the handmade clay pots (or the opportunity to talk about her most recent trip to Tunisia)!
For pasta lovers, LoRe Pasta features small batch pastas that are made from locally sourced ingredients including Castle Valley Mill Stone Ground in Pennsylvania. The artisan beet pasta may have been sold out during my trip (remember small batch), but the spinach rotini was just as delightful. Then there’s every spice you could imagine at the Cottage Spice Company, grass-fed beef from Highland Gourmet, free-range poultry from Manny’s All Natural Meat, fresh seafood from Metropolitan Seafood and shrooms galore from Mushrooms Etc.
It’s hard not to get hungry while browsing. Fortunately, at Stockton Market you can eat while you shop. There are organic grain and vegetable salads from Bread & Spoon, Puerto Rican inspired dishes from Lenny’s Cocina de Abuelita and Texas style smoked BBQ from Pulled Fork BBQ. The artisanal wood-fired pizzas from Market Pizza are worth a bite, and the corn tacos from El Mariachi bring you straight to the streets of Mexico (side note – bring a container of their jalapeno pickles home).
Sweet lovers can also rejoice because Stockton Market truly hits a home run in the sugar department. Locally harvested wildflower honey from Zach & Zoe Honey, award-winning French macarons from Sciascia Confections (don’t miss out on the purple one filled with blackberries) and handcrafted pastries from Sweet Melissa’s Patisserie are just a sampling of what’s offered. It was hands down one of the best desserts I’ve had in quite some time.
Save Room (in your Basket) for Dessert
Not to be outdone in the treats department was Curiosity Doughnuts, where the majority of doughnuts on display are yeasted (which, as it turns out, makes a huge difference). We tried the cheesecake stuffed donut and it was like eating sweet, freshly baked bread slathered in cheesecake and jelly. The only mistake we made was not getting two.
In addition to vendors, Stockton Market also hosts pop up dinners, workshops (there was a fermentation workshop in the back area when we visited) and local cookbook signings. Needless to say, there’s always something new going on and something new to buy; which makes Stockton Market worth not just one visit, but a few at the least.
For the full list of everything Stockton Market offers, visit https://stocktonmarket.com/vendors/.
All Photos: © Melissa Beveridge / Best of NJ